Candidates’ qualifications

| 16/05/2009

The one thing which I still remember about Obama’s bid for the presidency, six months after the fact, is the way which he carried himself and the tone that he set for the management of his campaign.

Up until then, those of us who follow politics had grown so accustomed to the mudslinging and finger pointing overtones of political campaigning that it was more a norm than an exception. I am not naïve enough to say that Obama was beyond reproach, but he did manage to bring a level of dignity back to the campaigning process which was sorely lacking from the US presidential race. A level of dignity that, quite frankly, is sorely lacking in the political campaigning process of the Cayman Islands.

It has been over a month since I made a request for the candidates’ qualifications in an effort to better inform myself before taking to the polls on May 20th. To date only three candidates have taken the time to not only respond but also engage in dialogue about their positions and their plans for the country.

No candidate from either of the two parties has actually replied or provided the information requested. The material posted on the biography section of either party’s website does not actually provide the requested information. As a voter I cannot get a clear idea of the candidates’ formal education and work experience as what little is given on either topic is lost in convoluted and perhaps even irrelevant information such as marital status, number of children and place of worship. Merely being married does not make one a good partner, having children is simply a testament to one’s ability to procreate, and one’s choice of a place of worship only provides a location for where one might be found on a particular day of the week but says nothing about the contents of one’s heart.

A great deal of controversy has been taking up time on our airwaves over the last two weeks in regards to the very question of qualification of some of our candidates. This controversy has illustrated the gap that exists in our system when it comes to the submission and verificationof information on persons running for political office. The question is one of fact, not opinion, and as such it can be verified. One either does or does not hold a degree; one either did or did not work for a particular company or hold a particular post. There should be no play on words, no question of terminology, nor any room for misinformation. I don’t presume to know whose responsibility it should be, but clearly someone should be responsible for ensuring that the electorate is able to access such information.

Contrary to what has been said this information does matter. The people have asked for it and that in and of itself should be a clear indication that this is something that is important.

Do not misunderstand: this is not about limiting the number of persons who can run for office by putting forth a qualifications requirement. It is about understanding what each individual brings to the table so that each of us can choose whom we feel is better equipped to deal with “the real issues”, such as the global economic downturn, which have a direct impact on our daily lives.

It does not *only* take formal education to run this country. Nor does it *only* take work experience. My generation is not a generation of either/or. We want both. Make no mistake about it, things are changing. The days of the feudalistic exchange of a washing machine for a vote may not be over just yet, but they certainly are numbered. This generation expects more. We expect a certain level of intelligence from our representatives, and a truly intelligent person is one who has respect for both formal schooling and the school of life. 

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  1. Just the facts madam says:

    Now let’s hope that Ellio can work on some qualifications. He has 4 years and no excuses to get a degree.

  2. Go Cayman! says:

    Dont feel sorry for Sandra! She has been on the talk shows every day making the same contributions that she did before.

    You should feel sorry for yourself and your country for the screw up decision you just made. Even McKeeva had enough sense NOT to give Ellio a ministry! Thank God for that much.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Mark is actually a well qualified candidate – with degrees in engineering / roads management and has relevant work experience in that field both at Government (PWD/NRA) and as a successful business man in the same area.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Dear another attempt,

    You would be surprised how many people really wish we had some education/qualifid and sensible people operating this country.

    We are not a few!

    • Anonymous says:

      You player haters can take stop ranting and raving about this. The public has spoken, and for the avoidance of doubt, they have chosen common sense and good leadership by electing Mark Scotland in Bodden Town – not Sandra Catron – who might have a lot of degrees but sometimes lacks the mental fortitude to walk and chew gum.

      • Anonymous says:

        Player haters? you voted for a man you think of as being a "player"… wow… the example you wish to set for the young men of our Islands… you must be very proud!

        • Anonymous says:

          Poor Sandra – has anyone heard anything from her lately. Must be still trying to recover along with some of the PPM members.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians cannot expect to elect unqualified people and then turn around and complain when they make incompetent decisions!

    Vote SMART my people!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yet another pathetic attempt by a few detractors to take the people’s minds away from the real issues facing the Cayman Islands.

      Here we are as a result of the PPM’s mismanagement literally sinking; our financial industry at risk of being lost; unempoyment in the 1000’s; tourism almost extinct.

      Don’t worry Cayman – after May 20th we will have the UDP – a better way forward!

  6. Yo Mama says:

    This is a brilliant commentary. How can anyone in their right mind disagree?

  7. CaymanianFirst says:

    Full transparency will remove all ambiguity. While I do agree with the need to have the CV’s of the candidates readily available for public scrutiny we must not get carried away with qualifications.

    Educational achievement can be easily overshadowed by a general lack of integrity. As a matter of fact we are aware that some of our most educated candidates have tangled with the law. These include but are not limited to Mr. Lyndon Martin and Dr. Frank McField among others. Other highly educated candidates in the past have been known to engage in domestic abuse.

    All candidates should recognise that their life is subject to scrutiny by the general public and they are therefore held to a higher standard simply because of the position of trust and power that they are contesting. 

    As such, when selecting which candidate to vote for, even more important than their educational background, all voters should carefully reconsider electing any potential lawmaker who has broken the law.


  8. Anonymous says:

    Few on the new UDP candidates have any real academic substance.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Dont be mistaken – the fact that a candidate had to lie about it certainly shows that they recognize more and more the importance of being educated!

    Yes we need you to have both the piece of paper and common sense!

  10. Anonymous says:

    It would have been nice to know which 3 candidates responded.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hear! Hear!

    I, as a Caymanian am astonished at the suggestion that our political candidates do not need to be educated but only need “common sense”. Yet we continue to pay lip service to our children by telling them to pay attention in school and get a good education. It speaks a lot about how little Mr. Bush and his party members value education.

    I am voting Independent. We have tried both parties and both have failed.